It has been an odd week in Oslo. Firstly, it has been hotter than hell here (and I don’t just mean “Hell” the small village by Trondheim airport as I’m pretty sure Oslo is always hotter than Hell).
The other day we hit the hottest July day recorded in Oslo and the effects are being felt by many. Apparently Arbeidstilsynet (the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority) has received numerous calls asking if workers are allowed to go home due to uncomfortably hot working conditions. The answer, unfortunately for those of us who would much rather be spending all day lying in a dark room, is no. They have guidelines for workplace temperatures, but there is nothing written into law on this issue.
The situation is not being made easier by the fact that everywhere seems to have sold out of fans. Dragging myself round to all of the shops on Bogstadveien that could plausibly stock fans I was met with many an empty shelf. The only things left were those little spray bottle fans that pack as much oomph as a laptop would if powered by a single AAA battery. I resorted to stealing from someone who is out of town. I have become a fan rustler. Hey, if they are willing to let me have keys then they are required to deal with the consequences of their actions.
Working in the heat, in an old building with no air conditioning, has involved a new ritual which includes getting to work and instantly opening the window to an “accident waiting to happen” degree, aiming the fan straight at my head on full blast and then getting a large supply of extra cold water. But it still feels like working in an oven. One of my colleagues has been sitting at her desk with her feet in a giant plastic bowl of icy cold water. I have realised she’s a damn genius and I don’t understand how she isn’t running the place already.
The other thing raising temperatures around here is the news of a terror threat against Norway. I personally haven’t noticed any increased police presence on the streets, but then again I have mostly been going straight from the office to home (to sit in the dark and try and get cool!) But there are small things that speak to the preventative strategies put in place within the past few days. For example, the bins at Oslo central train station have been closed. It reminds me of when a certain someone used to visit me and get annoyed about the lack of bins at train stations and I had to explain about the IRA.
In the time I have been living here there have been a number of very serious crimes, including of course 22/7. But on a day to day basis I don’t know anyone who feels unsafe in Oslo. At the moment the police aren’t advising anything specific regarding the current terror threat. Judging by the number of people eating brunch at Skansen in the sunshine this afternoon it doesn’t seem like people are doing things very differently. Mostly I think people are just trying to have a peaceful summer, uninterrupted by the reports of danger.
So here’s to a summer of peace, joy and Non Stop krone-is. Yummy.